Click to Enlarge

Guard My Body
Click one of the above links to purchase an eBook.

ISBN-10: 1-55404-726-9
ISBN-13: 
Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Action/Adventure
eBook Length: 215 Pages
Published: January 2010
OUT OF PRINT

From inside the flap

A hard-core CIA covert ops expert like Nash Kincaid takes everything seriously, but especially his mission to retrieve classified information from his contact, take it to the right people, and stop the deaths of thousands of children at the hands of home-grown terrorists.

A librarian with a wild side could throw a ringer into his plans, but Ayden Devlin takes most things seriously, too, even when she decides to live out the lives of the characters in the books she reads by helping her sister Leigh, a spy for the CIA. She lets Leigh insert classified information into her mouth where there’s a missing tooth, so she can safely transport the info to Nash.

Nash and Ayden meet in a biker bar, and a hit man tries to kill Ayden. Nash throws his body in the path of a bullet to save her. A bullet grazes Ayden’s head and knocks her out cold. When she comes to, she and her rescuer have to establish trust. They don’t know each other, and the mission has gone awry. It takes time to convince each other of their respective honesty and identity.

It takes no time at all for them to realize they’re hot for each other, and not much more time to realize that it’s more than heat. Love blooms, stoked by building passion, the flames rising higher with each new dangerous encounter.

Will they survive to share their love and lives?

Guard My Body (Excerpt)


CHAPTER ONE

Who the hell sends a librarian to do the job of an undercover CIA agent?

Covert Operation Expert Nash Kincaid - at least that's what his latest passport said - sat in a seedy biker bar, sipping on his tap beer, waiting impatiently for a librarian - of all people - to show up and make a Top Secret information drop.

He scowled and scoffed silently into his foamy brew at the very balls of his friend and fellow comrade in arms, the man who'd set up this preposterous rendezvous. How the hell had Ace ever gotten it in his head that some stuffy old bookworm would be suitable for a transfer of classified information? So what if this Ayden person happened to be Ace's partner Leigh's sister? That didn't mean she could pull off something like this.

And who the hell is the amazing-looking chick that just walked in the door?

Nash's eyes widened, and his blood simmered beneath the surface. He let his eyes wander down, and then roam back up, the woman's sexy form. Her slim but amply curved silhouette stood out against the shadows of the barroom. Bright neon lights poured over her sexy outline, illuminating her body in vibrant red and yellow hues, cascading over and around her like waterfalls of color for her to bask in. She wore a skin-tight muscle shirt and a short leather skirt. The shiny, sequined material clung to curvy hips, stopped inches above shapely knees, and topped off endless, toned legs. Her fiery hair hung loose, reaching her narrow waistline, flowing like a billowing sea of red. Nash wanted to grip her waist with one hand, run his other through all that mass of organized tangles, hold on tight, and plow into her beckoning body like a madman.

Okay, so maybe her body didn't beckon him, but he sure as hell wanted it to.

His phone vibrated and hummed in his hand. He glanced down at the number displayed on his caller ID, hit the answer button, and went back to ogling the sensuous siren drawing his attention away from the business at hand. His breath caught. The woman answered her cell at the same moment he did. That had to be a coincidence.

The woman scanned the room. Her searching eyes landed right on him, flashing a brilliant blue he could see even from across the room. Fluorescent, glossy orbs drilled him with a glare that would have made a lesser man shrivel up and fade away. He narrowed his gaze and stared right back. Then realization dawned, and the air around him literally snapped, crackled and popped. Holy shit. No way. She can't be!

"She inside yet? The redhead?" Ace's voice floated across the line to Nash's shocked ears, fighting for a chance to be heard over the hard rock pouring from the blaring jukebox and slamming into Nash's eardrums with full force. The pounding of blood in his ears didn't aid him in hearing one damn bit either.

"You've got to be kidding." Nash wanted to commit hari kari when Ace laughed. "She doesn't look like a damn librarian to me." Ace cackled like a mother hen on the other end of the line, and Nash swore, the bitterness seething beneath the surface searching for a way out. "Why in the hell didn't you tell her to dress the part and try to blend in?"

"I thought this would be more fun."

Nash ran his stunned, greedy eyes over the luscious woman. His measuring gaze drifted from the top of her unruly head of fire-engine hair, all the way down to her tiny ankles, one of which sported a tattoo. He squinted, trying to make out the design from too great a distance in such dim lighting and the haze from the smoke swirling out of practically every mouth in the dingy bar. The tat wrapped in a cozy swirl around the ankle of the smallest ped he'd ever seen. Lucky tat.

Mission. Mission. Mission. Think mission, you numbskull. "I repeat. She doesn't look like a librarian."

"Nope. She doesn't, does she?" Ace agreed with a light, merry chuckle. The nitwit. "And she's not into blending in or conforming. Not even for this. But I don't think anyone will suspect she's working undercover for the CIA either - not the way she's hiding out in plain sight and wearing that outlandish garb."

Nash sighed and grumbled, "Are you sure she is who she says she is? Have you ever met her?"

"Once."

"Once? And you took Leigh's word for it that Ayden could do this? That's ridiculous, Ace, not to mention stupid."

"Leigh's my partner, and she insisted that Ayden be the one to deliver the goods."

"Why?"

"Not sure. Leigh wouldn't say."

"What the hell do you mean she wouldn't say? You let her choose her librarian sister for an important task like this one and didn't wring her neck and get a reason for her choice out of her?" Nash exploded in a hoarse whisper, trying to keep his voice under the noise level of the busy bar, but wanting to scream at the top of his lungs.

Ace went on as calmly as ever. "I don't doubt Leigh's professional opinion for a minute. You shouldn't either. You've worked with her. She knows her stuff. If she didn't think Ayden could pull this off, she would've found another way to transport the chip."

He'd clobber Ace the first chance he got. "I guess you're right. Leigh wouldn't risk the mission."

"Nope. Besides, these two siblings are as attached at the hip and loyal to one another as they come. The only way they'd be closer is if they were Siamese twins. Ayden will do her best to do her part."

"She's a librarian, Ace. She might have the grit, but she doesn't have any training. She might screw this up under pressure. Who knows what'll happen if things get dangerous?" Nash's doubt bubbled to the surface and escaped like hot water from an erupting geyser in Yellowstone National Park.

"It's always dangerous in our line of work. Agreeing to carry evidence and trotting out here to help Leigh were dangerous enough. There's always the remote chance someone followed her, but I think we're good to go. It's not as if we have much choice, anyway. Ayden was handy when we needed a courier, and she offered her help. We took it."

Nash scowled to himself, mostly because Ayden intrigued him. He didn't want to be intrigued. He wanted to be irritated. "I don't like endangering a civilian."

Ace laughed like a hearty hyena. "I wouldn't worry too much about Ayden, if I were you. Ordinarily, I'd feel the same way and leave innocent civilians out of my plans, but I believe Ayden has a bit of a wild side. I think she might be a Scarlet O'Hara in disguise."

Some disguise. "If she's as wild as you think, she's got the hair color to match her feisty attitude, that's for sure." Nash sighed and rubbed his jaw line. "I don't like it."

"What's not to like? It'll be all right. Leigh assured me Ayden won't crack under pressure. Anyway, all she has to do is deliver the info. Make sure it's her before you let your guard down and go spouting off info of your own, though."

Nash narrowed his eyes, suspicion wandering through his brain and worry coming out of his mouth when he asked, "How the hell do I do that? I wish you'd go ahead and tell me where the bloody info is located, in case Ayden and I somehow don't meet up."

"We've already gone over why I can't," Ace argued, making Nash want to throttle him.

"You mean, why you won't," Nash pointed out, wondering how tall Ayden stood in her naked little feet. Would her lips reach his easily, if he pulled her into his arms and kissed her senseless? Frowning, he shook his head to clear his wayward thoughts. Since when did he think redheads were hot? He'd always been partial to blondes, who seemed to have more fun. He knew he did when he was with them.

"True enough." Ace huffed exasperation over the line. "Look. Ayden's right there in the bar with you. What could possibly go wrong? I'm sure it'll be fine. If I tell you anything, an eavesdropper intercepting this call could hear too much information. This stuff is too important, not to mention classified, to have some surveillance crew recording and passing it on. I don't want to risk the possibility of someone listening in on this conversation. Too many assholes already know too many of our secrets, as far as I'm concerned. We've mentioned names and lots of other things over the past few days. I can't chance any more leaks."

"What's it matter now? Whoever's listening already knows the content of the info she's passing on to me. They don't need the info itself. They want to keep it out of my hands, or anyone else's who might hinder their nasty operations," Nash pointed out.

"Not necessarily. Who knows who's listening? Might not be just the people we're after. Believe me, no one should be allowed to know what's on that microchip. It's not just a little nasty. It's a whole damn lot nasty. If this stuff fell into the wrong hands, or ears, we'd be in real trouble, and our contacts would be in serious jeopardy. That's why I'm not saying anything unnecessary over this unsecured line."

Nash wanted to reach through the line and grab hold of Ace's windpipe. Mostly because he had a point, partly because he'd sent a librarian to do the work of an operation's guru, and partly because he had a hard-on for said librarian.

"If the woman I'm watching right now is Ayden, she's not being discreet. She's flaunting herself like a harlot and making the patrons of this oh-so-not-elite establishment drool. She's masquerading as a damn hooker." Nash wanted to choke Ayden as badly as he wanted to choke Ace and Leigh, and he didn't even know Ayden, yet.

"Whatever, man. As I said, it sounds as if she's hiding in plain sight to me. She's a smart lady. Leigh swears Ayden's a genius, and I'm not sure Leigh's exaggerating about Ayden's intelligence. I've heard the woman talk. She jokes about having more useless information in her head than imaginable, but it's a way of pushing attention away from her smart self, I think. She's a geek." Ace chuckled. "Doesn't look geeky though, does she?"

Nash grumbled, "Hell, no."

"By the way, she's not dressing the part to show up there in that outfit, or, as you said, masquerading as a hooker. She dresses that way all the time."

Nash's hold tightened on the cell. "You knew she'd be dressed like this?"

Ace laughed like a blithering fool. "Yep. I dropped her off at the airport, remember? She said she saw no reason to go changing her style for this meeting. Might make someone following her suspicious." Ace's remarks about Ayden's reasoning struck Nash as the most annoying conclusion he'd ever heard, but Ace didn't give Nash time to say so. "Anyway, it'd be near impossible for anyone to stop the transfer at this point. She's too close to you. She's in the building, if it's her."

"Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, Ace, and I don't like this setup one iota. Anything can go wrong."

Ace refused to budge. "Hate to sound redundant, dude, but walls have ears, and phone lines have bugs. You know darned good and well, cell phones can be monitored all too easily. You've done your own share of listening in over the years. Get over it, let the girl make the drop, and wrap this thing up."

Nash grunted, eagle-eyeing the graceful movements of the delectable woman dressed in black from head to toe, including her flat-heeled sensible Paton leather tennis shoes with ankle socks. At least she'd had the foresight to wear something in which she could run fast.

Ayden walked to the bar, her intelligent eyes gliding around the room. She appeared to be searching for someone, such as a date she'd planned to meet, or a friend. She leaned against the bar and exhibited an aura of nonchalance. If Nash didn't know better, he'd assume she didn't have a care in the world.

Ayden completely ignored the shrill whistles and open ogling of the bikers whose attention she'd unwittingly attracted. At least he assumed she'd unwittingly acquired their unwanted notice. She looked clueless, chatting on her cell, as if she had no idea that she had turned every male head - and some female ones - in the bar.

Wishing this was over, or he'd met with this suicidal woman someplace else, someplace abandoned, instead of in public, Nash commented dryly, "I'm not some rookie idiot, Ace. Give me a damn hint as to where the chip might be. Is it on her person? Inserted into a body cavity?"

Ace chuckled. "You'd like that, wouldn't you, ya perv?"

Nash thrilled at the thought of removing a concealed device from any one of the holes in this woman's gorgeous torso. "Shut up, and tell me something only you and I might know. We've been together a long time, although that might change after this stupid trick of yours. I might have to find a new partner to run with."

Ace tossed back, "You'll never find anybody that'll put up with your crap the way I do."

Nash's patience wore thinner by the second. "Stop changing the subject, and give it up. Surely, there's something you can say to let me know where the chip is installed, either on her body, or wherever she might've stashed it."

Ace hesitated. Nash hoped his hesitation meant he considered telling him where Ayden had stuck the microchip. Nash narrowed his eyes and skimmed the woman's fragile features. He studied her less-than-subtle attire. Her wild style of clothing and rowdy mane contrasted with her delicate, serene facial features and calm exterior. How did she do that? Look so innocent, yet worldly at the same time?

He'd test Ace. Maybe if he ticked his friend off, he'd tell him something useful. "Do you even know where the blasted chip is? Or is Ayden the only one that knows the location of the info?" Silence met his questions. Nash raked a sweaty hand over his sweatier brow. "Damn it, Ace, come on. Be subtle, and let's work this mess out before things get out of hand."

Ace scoffed, "Subtle? What? Like you? I know your version of subtle, buddy. It usually consists of blowing stuff up."

Ayden turned her gaze deliberately and pointedly in Nash's direction, aimed her sparkling eyes right at him, and settled her attention squarely on him. He about choked on the beer he'd sipped. His breath hitched, and then halted abruptly. Strangling on his alcoholic beverage, he coughed, wheezed, and then got a hold of himself. He whispered hoarsely, "She's zeroed in on me, Ace. Better fill me in, in case this broad isn't Ayden. She could be anyone. She could be here to assassinate me."

Ace kept quiet. Nash promised himself he'd punch the guy in the mouth next time he saw him.

Ayden's eyes remained locked on his, unwavering, pinning him to his seat, making him want to squirm. The very idea pissed him off. He wasn't the squirming type.

Nash's air passage clogged like a hair-filled drainpipe, his mouth went dry as a dinosaur bone from the first ice age, and his voice pitched higher than his usual deep bass when he asked, "Where's the chip? What's the info? Tell me, Ace. Tell me now."

Ace chuckled like a clown. "Don't sound so impatient and desperate, man. This'll all be over soon." Ace waited a heartbeat. "You're in a real pickle, aren't you, Nash? I think this might be the first time you've ever been in such a tizzy about being in a tight spot."

Wanting to wrap his hands around his old friend's windpipe and squeeze until he spit up the info, Nash grumped, "I'm glad you find this so amusing, you dick."

Blithe as all get out, Ace instructed, "Remember, she'll ask for your name and the code word. Ask for her name and code word in return. Leigh will pass hers on to Ayden, and I'll tell you your response. If the code words match, we're set."

Disgruntled, and hard as a rock in his nether region, Nash watched the incredible-looking woman talk on the phone and smile sweet-as-pie at a toothless, raggedy, wrinkled-up old man who motioned for her to come to him, obviously asking her to sit at his table. She rejected her raunchy admirer with more finesse than Nash would have. The pot-bellied guy flashed a tobacco-filled grin at Ayden and dropped into his seat, slapping his thick thigh and guffawing like a maniac. Nash clenched his jaw and grouched, "All right then. What's the damn code word?"

"It's..." Ace's words cut off abruptly, and the line went dead. Nash pulled the cell from his ear and stared at it. What the hell?